Being alone doesn't always mean you're lonely

In such a busy world, it's important to slow down and learn to enjoy our own company

Gabbi De Boer
6th December 2021
Image: Pixabay

The world is a big place, and sometimes, being alone makes it feel even bigger. It can seem like the end of the world if you’re not surrounded by people, or if you’re not always out on a Saturday night. But sometimes, being alone can be the best thing for your mental health.

Becoming an adult means new responsibilities - be that university, a job, or moving away from home. It can be scary if you have no support system in these unfamiliar settings, and sometimes all you have is your own company. And that’s okay. Being an adult can be busy with almost no time to yourself. The only person you will spend 100% of your life with is you, and in this modern age, being able to be comfortable with just your own company is something we all need to learn. 

FOMO, driven by social media, is definitely a contributing factor that leads to the illusion of having to be constantly surrounded by friends, or that in order to be #winningatlife you need to be in a relationship. The pressure to be sociable and always involved can feel like an incoming tsunami - wave upon wave of anxiety or guilt that doesn’t stop until you give in. Even if you know you’ll hate it, you still go; it’s not until you’re out that you realise you’d rather just not have come at all. Being constantly surrounded by people can become a drain on mental health, but even so, you still choose to go, because anything’s better than being alone. 

Maybe it’s time we learned that being alone isn’t scary or boring, it’s actually self-care.

But maybe the fear of being alone isn’t as scary as you first thought. Many fear that if they aren’t always involved, they’ll lose friends or be cast out of social circles. True friends wouldn’t do this - especially not if you need it. Some people just simply aren’t comfortable in their own company or don’t know what to do on their own, which is perfectly valid too. We’ve been conditioned to think that being a loner or an outcast means something is wrong with us. Maybe it’s time we learned that being alone isn’t scary or boring, it’s actually self-care.

Maybe it’s taking extra time to do a nightly routine, or watching a show you’ve put on your watchlist for the last 6 months. Maybe you want to tidy part of your house, or try that new, slightly complex recipe you’ve not had a chance to yet. Just do whatever you’ve pushed aside because you’ve felt the need to be social. It doesn’t make you selfish and it certainly doesn’t make you antisocial, it makes you feel better. Relationships and friendships shouldn’t define who you are, only you can control that, and only you truly know what makes you - you.

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